« PrejšnjaNaprej »
lington Turnpike Companies passed the two Houses, there had been reported, by the Committees of Internal Improvements, bills containing appropriations for such objects, exclusive of those for the Cumberland road, and for barbors and light-houses, to the amount of about one hundred and six millions of dollars. In this amount was included authority to the Secretary of the Treasury to subscribe for the stock of different companies to a great extent, and the residue was principally for the direct
construction of roads by this Government. In addition to these projects, which had been presented to the two Houses, under the sauction and recommendation of their respective Committees on Internal Improvemeuts, there were then still pending before the committees, and in memorials to Congress, presented, but not referred, different projects for works of a similar character, the expense of which cannot be estimated with certainty, but must have exceeded one hundred millions of dollars.
Regarding the bill authorizing a subscription to the stock of the Maysville and Lexinglon Turnpike Company as the evtering wedge of a system, which, however weak at first, might soon become strong enough to rive the bands of the Union asunder, and believing that if its passage was acquiesced in by the Executive and the People, there woull no longer be any limitation upon the authority of the General Government in respect to the appropriation of money tor such objects, I deemed it an im. perative duty to withhold from it the Executive approval. Although, from the obviously local character of that work, I might well have contented my self with a refusal to approve the bill upon that ground, yet, sensible of the vital importance of the subject, and anxious that my views and opinions in regard to the whole matter, should be fully understood by Congress, and by my constituents, I felt it my duty to go further. I therefore embraced that early occasion to apprize Congress, that, in my opinion, the Constitution did not confer upou it the power to authorize the construction of ordinary roads and canals within the linits of a State, and to say respectfully, that no bill admitting such a power could receive my official sanction, I did so in the confident expectation that the speedy settlement of the public mind upon the whole subject uould be greatly facilitated by the difference between the two Hovees and myself, and that the harmonious action of the several departments of the Federal Government in regard to it, would be ultimately secured.
So far at least as it regards this branch of the subject, my best hopes have beeu realized. Nearly four years have elapsed, and several sessions of Congress have intervened, and no attempt, within my recollecLion, has been made to induce Congress to exercise this power. The applications for the construction of roads and canals, which were for. merly multiplied upon your files, are no longer presented; and we have good reason to infer that the current of public sentiment has become so decided against the pretension as effectually to discourage its re-assertion. So thinking, I derive the greatest satisfaction from the conviction, that thus much at least has been secured upon this important and embarrassing subject.
From attempts to appropriate the national funds to objects which are confessedly of a local character, we cannot, I trust, have any thing fur ther to apprehend. My views in regard to the expediency of inaking appropriations for works wbich are claimed to be of a national charac
ter, and prosecuted under State authority, assuming that Congreșs have a right to do so, were stated in my annual message to Congress in 1830, and also in that containing my objections to the Maysville Road Bill.
So thoroughly convinced am I, that no such appropriations ought to be made by Congress, until a suitable constitutional provision is made upon the subject, and so essential do I regard the point to the highest interests of our country, that I could not consider myself as discharging my duty to my constituents in giving the Executive sanction to any bill containJing such an appropriation. If the people of the United States desire that the Public Treasury shall be resorted to for the means to prosecuto such works, they will concur in an amendment of the constitution, prescribing a rule by which the national character of the works is to be tested, and by which the greatest practicable equality of benefits nia y be secured to each member of the coufederacy. The effects of such a regulation would be most salutary in preventing unprofitable expenditures, in securing our legislafrion from the perpicious consequences of a scramble for the favors of Go vernment, and in repressing the spirit of discontent which must inevitably arise from an unequal distribution of treasures which belong alike to all.
There is another class of appropriations for what may be called, without impropriety, internal improvements, which have always been regard. ed as standing upon different grounds from those to which I have referred. I allude to such as have for their object the improvement of our harbors, the removal of partial and temporary obstruclions in our navigable rivers, for the facility and security of our foreign commerce. The grounds upon which I distinguished appropriations of this character from others, have already been stated to Congress. I will now only add that at the first session of Congress under the new constitution, it was provided by law, that all expenses which should accrue from and after the 15th day of August, 1789, in the necessary support and maintenance and repairs of all light houses, beacons, buoys, and public piers, erected, placed, or sunk before the passage of the act, within any bay, inlet, harbor or port of the United States, for rendering the navigation thereof easy and safe, should be defrayed out of the Treasury of the United States ; and fur. ther, that it should be the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to provide by contracts, with the approbation of the President, for rebuilding when necessary, and keeping in good repair the light houses, beacons, buoys, and public piers in the several States, and for furnishing them with supplies. Appropriations for siinilar objects have been continued from that time to the present without interruption or dispute. As a natural consequence of the increase and extension of our foreign commerce, ports of entry and delivery have been multiplied and established, not only upou our sea-board, but in the interior of the country, upon our lakes and navigable rivers. The convenience and safety of this coinmerce have led to the gradual extension of these expenditures; to the erection of light houses, the placing, planting, and sinking of buoys, beacons and piers, and to the removal of partial and temporary obstructions in our navigable rivers, and in the harbors upon our great lakes, as well as on the sea-board.
Although I have expressed to Congress my apprehension that these expenditures have sometimes been extravagant and disproportionate to the advantages to be derived from them, I have not felt it io be my duty to
refuse my assent to bills containing them, and have contented myself to follow in this respect in the footsteps of all my predecessors. Sensible, however, from experience and observation, of the great abuses to which the unrestricted exercise of this authority by Congress was exposed, I have prescribed a limitation for the goveroment of my own conduct, by which expenditures of this character are confined to places below the ports of entry or delivery established by law.
I am very sensible that this restriction is not as satisfactory as could be desired, and that much embarrassment nay be caused to the Execu. tive Department in its execution, by appropriations for remote, and not well understood objects. But as neither my own reflections, nor the lighis which I may properly derive from other sources, have supplied me with a better, I shall continue to apply my best exertions to a faithful application of the rule upon which it is founded. I sincerely regret that I could not give my assent to the bill entitled “an Act to improve the navigation of the Wabash river;" but I could not have done so without receding from the ground which I have, upon the fullest consideration,
taken upon this subject, and of which Congress has been herrtotore apprized, and without throwing the sunject again opeu to abuses which no good citizen, entertaining my opinions, could desire.
I rely upon the intelligence and candor of my fellow citizens, in whose liberal indulgence I have already so largely participated for a correct appreciation of my motives in interposing, as I have done, on this, and other occasions, checks to a course of legislation which, without, in the slightest degree, calling in question the motives of others, I consider as sanctioning improper and unconstitutional expenditures of public treasure.
I am not hostile to internal improvements, anit wish to see themi extended to every part of the country. But I am fully persuaded, if they are not commenced in a proper manner, confined to proper objects, and couducted under an authority generally conceded to be rightful, that a successful prosecution of them cannot be reasonably expected.
The attempt will meet with resistance where it might otherwise receive support, and instead of strengthening the bonds of our confederacy, it will only multiply and aggravate the causes of disunion. December 1, 1834.
THE CONGRESS. The Congress of the United States consists of the Senate and House of Representatives ; the former composed of forty-eight in number, the lat. ter of two hundred and forty three, of whon three are delegares.
There are two Senators from cach State. They were originally divided into three classes, and one third of them are chosen every second year for the term of six years. They are chosen by the Legislatures of the States.
The Senate have upon all nominations by the President of the United States, a voice of advice and consent, or otherwise ; in which case it sits with closed doors. The journal of jis pro eedings is then secret. have also a vote in the ratification of treaties; in which case it is indispensable that two-thirds of them should consent. The Senate is also a court for the trial of high crimes and misdemeanors, upon impeachments by the House of Representatives.
The Vice President of the United States is, by the constitution, the President of the Senate, in which body he has only a casting vote, which is given in case of an equal division of the votes of the Senators. The Vice President of the United S'ates, when he acts as President of the Senate, receives no addition to his pay as Vice President, which is $5,000 per annum,
In his absence a President pro tempore, is chosen, who, during the period of his services, receives $16 per diem for every day he atleuds.
The House of Representatives is composed of members chosen every second year by the People of the several States; and the electors in each State must have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State Legi lature.
Representatives are apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, which are determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians vot taxed, three-fifths of all other persons. An enumeration of the inhabitants of the United States must be made every ten years. The first enumeration was made in 1790, the fifth in 1830.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives is chosen by a majority of the members of the House, for the terın of the Congress to which he belongs a: a inember of the House. His privileges are the same as those of any other member; and his compensation is $16 per diem.
The Congress must assemble, at least once in every year on the first Monday in December, if not otherwise provided by law. The President of the United States may convene them at any time upon giving forty days notice. Neither House can adjourn for more than three days, without the consent of the other, nor to any other place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting. In case of disagreement about the time, the President of the United States may adjourn them to such time as he thuoks proper. 'The Senate and House each form their own rules, and are, respectively, judges of their own election.
Senators, when elected, must be thirty years of age; and Representa. tives twenty-five years; and each Senator and Representative, must, when elected, be an inhabitant of the State in which he shall be chosen.
The tinies, places, and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, is prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may, at any time by law, make or alter such regula. tions, except as to the places of choosing Senators.
Both Senators and Representatives are, in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace, privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to, or returu. ing from, the same ; and for any speech or debate in either House, they cannot be questioned in any other place. Bills for raising revenue must originate in the House ; and the House solely has the power of impeachment.
No Member of Con ess, can, during the time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil orice under the authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the emoluments whereof shall have been increased, during such time ; and no person holding any office under the United States, can be a meinber of either House during his continuance in office ; nor can be be concerned either directly or indirectly, in whole, or in part, in any contract, &c. with the United States.
SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES.
Second Session, Twenty-Third Congress.
MARTIN VAN Buren, of New York, Vice President of the
United States, and President of the Senate.
SENATORS WITH THE EXPIRATION OF THE TERM OF SERVICE OP EACH.
North Carolina. Peleg Sprague, Hallowell.....1835 Bedford Brown, Milton........1835 Ether Shepley, Saco........ 1839 W. P. Mangum, Hillsborough., 1837 New Hampshire.
South Carolina. Samuel Bell, Chester....... 1835 John C. Calhoun, Pendleton .... 1835 Isaac Hill, Concord............1837 Williain C. Preston, Columbia. 1837 Massachusetts.
Georgia. Nathaniel Silsbee, Salem ......1835 John P. King, Augusta .........1835 Daniel Webster, Boston........1839 Alfred Cuthbert,(4) Eatonton..1837 Rhode Island.
Kentucky. Nehemiah R. Knight, Province.1835 George M. Bibb, Yellow Bank. 1835 Asher Robbins, Newport......1839 Henry Clay, Lexington........1837 Connecticut.
..1837 Benjamio Swift, St. Albans.... 1839 Thomas Morris, Bethel........ 1839 New York.
Louisiana. Silas Wright, jun. Canton.....1837 G. A. Waggaman, N. Orleans 1835 N. P. Tallmadge, Poughkeep'e.1839 Alexander Porter, N. Orleans .1837 New Jersey.
Indiana. Theo. Frelinghuysen, Newark.1835 William Hendricks, Madison...1837 Samuel L. Southard, Trenton..1839 John Tipton, Logansport...... 1839 Pennsylvania.
Mississippi. James Buchapan,(1) Lancas'r. 1837 George Poindexter, Natchez...1835 Samuel McKean, Búrlington...1839 John Black, Monroe .............1
1835 Joseph Kent, Bladeusburg.....,1839 Gabriel Moore, Huntsville.....1837 Virginia.
Missouri. Benj. W. Leigh, (3) Richmond..1835'Lewis F. Linn, St. Louis.......1837 John Tyler, Glocester 6. h....... 1839 Thomas H. Benton, St. Louis .. 1839 (1) In place of William Wilkins, resigned, appointed Envoy Extraordinary and Min
ister Plenipotentiary to Russia. (2) Occasioned by resignation of Ezekiel F. Chambers, appointed Judge in Maryland. (3) In place of William C. Rives, resigned. (4) In place of John Forsyth, resigned, appointed Secretary of State.